February 2009 // Volume 47 // Number 1
JOE by the Numbers 2008
In "JOE by the Numbers 2008" I report on the 2008 submission and readership rates and announce JOE's current acceptance rate: 32.4%. I also highlight yet again the Top 50 Most Read Articles lists. In "JOE Redesign" I flag the obvious-JOE's new look-and explain that its beauty is more than skin deep. In "February JOE" I spend just a few more words urging you to read this month's issue.
Are Accents One of the Last Acceptable Areas for Discrimination?
The use of language and the ability to speak "Standard English" in America can have serious consequences for people in this country. One's intellectual ability is often judged on the basis of how well one speaks English. Foreign accents and accents related to variation in style and pronunciation of native English speech can be subject to negative evaluation and discrimination. As America becomes an increasingly multicultural nation, it is to be hoped that we will become increasingly skilled in communicating with those who speak English with various accents as well as tolerant in our attitudes toward all accents.
Participate in the JOE Discussion Forum on "Are Accents One of the Last Acceptable Areas for Discrimination?
A Regional View of Extension Employee Perceptions of Scholarship in the Workplace
We surveyed U.S. Extension professionals on their employment experiences and personal perceptions about scholarship and compared them to the more easily defined service employment element. Further, we segmented the results by U.S. census region to identify similarities and differences among regions. Results indicate that, overall, respondents receive more satisfaction from service and believe that it is more important than scholarship in their jobs. Conversely, they believe that scholarship is more important to their institutions and that they are rewarded more for exhibiting scholarship. Finally, respondents do not believe that their host institutions have adequately defined scholarship, which creates confusion.
Implications of Maintenance and Motivation Factors on Extension Agent Turnover
What factors are relevant in determining why agents remain employed in Extension? This article discusses the implications of maintenance and motivation factors on Extension agent turnover. It describes motivator and maintenance factors affecting job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and their influence on agent turnover. Professional associations offer agents the motivation factors discussed in this article. The benefits gained by investing in Extension's current employees may ultimately enhance Extension's ability to fulfill its mission as the educational outreach branch of the land-grant university.
Barriers to a Healthy Lifestyle: From Individuals to Public Policy—An Ecological Perspective
By using an ecological framework, this article provides a review of common barriers to healthful eating and being physically active. The barriers are described within the four levels (intrapersonal, interpersonal, community/institution, and macro/public policy) of an ecological model highlighting the need for multifaceted approaches to overcome these barriers. Examples of how Extension professionals can effectively target these barriers to promote healthier lifestyles and encourage the development of related policies and community programs are given. Practical examples of interventions that have successfully used an ecological model to promote behavior change are also provided.
Evaluation of a New Nutrition Education Curriculum and Factors Influencing Its Implementation
The study reported here evaluated a nutrition education curriculum through examining participant behavior change. A previously used curriculum (April - September 2005 and 2006) was compared to a new curriculum (April - September 2007) using pre- and post-program 24-hour dietary recalls and food behavior surveys. Participant, educator, and program variables were explored relative to behavior change. The new curriculum elicited behavior change similar to that elicited by the previous curriculum. Factors influencing behavior change included participant and educator race and educator experience. Participant and educator variables should be considered in future program/curriculum implementation.
Building a Multi-Generational Volunteer Base: Understanding How Human Development Impacts Volunteer Service
Extension professionals seeking to recruit multi-generational volunteers face several challenges, including understanding human development across the life span, recruiting different age groups for volunteer roles, and developing volunteer roles for people with different developmental needs. Engaging an age-diverse volunteer pool will benefit the organization, its clientele and volunteers. Extension professionals should consider creating specific roles for multi-generational volunteers. This should yield a broader cadre of recruits who are likely to be retained as they move through different developmental stages across the life span.
Are Rural 4-Hers More Connected to Their Communities Than Their Non-4-H Counterparts?
The purpose of the research described in this article was to determine if membership in 4-H enhances rural 11th graders' sense of belonging or social connection with their communities. Specifically, the study compared the levels of social connections of 4-Hers with those of their non-4-H counterparts. The results revealed that participation in 4-H programs is an avenue for young people to develop a sense of belonging in their communities. The 4-Hers were more socially connected with their communities than their non-4-H peers. The implications of the results for practice in the field of youth development are discussed.
Livestock Farmers' Use of Animal or Herd Health Information Sources
Dissemination of animal or herd health information is of potential importance not only to management of a farm business, but may also be critical to animal welfare and public health. Understanding the types of sources of animal/herd health information that farmers use and how farm and farmer characteristics may influence their use is of importance. The objectives of the study reported here were to ascertain the use animal/herd health information sources by livestock producers and the effects of farm and farmer demographic characteristics on use of these information sources. Survey results from 1,737 Tennessee livestock producers are used in the analysis.
The Use of a Non-Point Source Pollution Self-Assessment for Greenhouse and Nursery Operators in California
Water quality rules adopted in 2001 in San Diego, California, created new requirements for greenhouse and plant nursery growers to manage surface run-off that could potentially affect drinking water, recreational locations, and wildlife habitat. A "Run-off and Non-Point Source Pollution Self-Assessment for Greenhouse and Container Nurseries" was developed as a series of worksheets that translated technical information for growers to meet legal requirements, maintain their property value, and enhance the quality of their environment. Self-assessment results determined a need for additional training on run-off management and prevention pollution through more site-specific fertilization and pest management techniques based on routine monitoring.
Research in Brief
Preparing Youth Development Professionals to Be Successful: How Do the Needs of Extension/4-H Compare to Those of Other Organizations?
An online Master's degree in Youth Development Leadership offered by Clemson University serves students nationally with the goal of using a multi-disciplinary approach "to prepare professionals for best practices in positive youth development." A nationwide needs assessment was conducted so that plans to improve and expand the program will meet the needs of the youth development profession. A variety of findings proved beneficial for determining similarities and differences among leaders of 4-H programs and other youth development organizations as well as implications for the types of degrees that would be most valuable for contemporary youth development professionals.
An Examination of the Benefits, Preferred Training Delivery Modes, and Preferred Topics of 4-H Youth Development Volunteers
Training is a critical component of any successful volunteer management system. The evaluation reported here examined the benefits of the 4-H Youth Development Volunteer training as well as ranks preferred training methods and topics. Participants in leader training reported that training yielded motivational and educational benefits. As part of the evaluation, volunteers identified the preferred training delivery modes as group trainings and electronic communication. Volunteers were most interested in learning about 4-H opportunities and leadership development.
Grassroots Conservation: Volunteers Contribute to Threatened and Endangered Species Projects and Foster a Supportive Public
Educational programs for volunteers participating in threatened and endangered species conservation projects foster supportive attitudes in individuals who then become valuable advocates. We surveyed volunteers to assess the impact of the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership's program. This program trains volunteers to protect Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers nesting at sand and gravel mines, lakeshore housing developments, and river sandbars. Volunteers increased their knowledge and appreciation of threatened and endangered species and conservation policy. They expressed interest in contributing to conservation policymaking and felt that they can make a difference in the recovery of legally protected species.
Improving the Chile Industry of New Mexico Through Industry, Agriculture Experiment Station, and Cooperative Extension Service Collaboration: A Case Study
Chile growers and the Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension Services at New Mexico State University have a long history of collaboration to sustain the chile industry. This case study identifies and documents the methodology of creating collaboration among the Agriculture Experimental Station, Cooperative Extension, and growers to solving local, regional, and global challenges in a specialty crop. A new paradigm has been created with the formation of a research-team approach with long-term funding guaranteed and the New Mexico Chile Growers Association's direct involvement to determine the allocation of research funds to the team and other funding requests.
The Producers' Stake in the Bioeconomy: A Survey of Oklahoma Producers' Knowledge and Willingness to Grow Dedicated Biofuel Crops
The study reported here found that producers were familiar with the biofuel industry through mass media channels and were willing to convert cropland to energy crops. Producers were motivated by patriotic reasons, but overall profitability was the greater motive for converting cropland to dedicated biofuel crops such as switchgrass. Barriers to energy crop production were a lack of markets (biorefineries) and information about biofuel crop production. It is recommended that an educational campaign regarding biofuel crop production best practices, especially cellulosic crops (switchgrass) and marketing, be implemented. A statewide leadership campaign to attract biorefineries to the state is also recommended.
Integrated Pest Management and Protection Practices by Limited Resource Farmers
This article focuses on the perceptions of limited resource farmers (LRFs) on integrated pest management (IPM) and protection practices. Data were collected from 90 LRFs in the Alabama Black Belt and analyzed by descriptive statistics. The results revealed that most farmers used pesticides and practiced crop rotation and other practices, yet a majority was not familiar or inadequately familiar with IPM. It is recommended that instituting a coordinated or seamless IPM education program on a long-term or continuing basis will enable the LRFs to be well familiar with and also practice IPM on a sustained basis.
Reducing the Spread of Infectious Disease Through Hand Washing
According to the Centers for Disease Control (2002), hand washing is the simplest, most effective measure for preventing the spread of bacteria, pathogens, and viruses. Recent studies by the American Society for Microbiology (2005) indicate that Americans do not wash their hands after going to the bathroom and before handling or eating food. The study reported here sought to determine the presence of publications encouraging the public to wash hands in two North Carolina counties. Public restrooms located in rest areas, convenience stores, restaurants, and childcare facilities were examined. Findings indicate that literature encouraging hand washing is not present.
Assessing the Supports Needed to Help Pregnant and Parenting Teens Reach Their Educational and Career Goals
Teen parents often experience difficulty in achieving their educational and career aspirations. The study reported here identified the sources and types of support that teen parents consider most useful in reaching these goals. The teens rated relatives as the most helpful source of support and government assistance programs as least helpful. The most useful types of support included having consistent childcare, while establishing good relationships with parents of the father of their child and obtaining government resources were least helpful. Extension professionals are in a unique position to collaborate with schools and community agencies to help teen parents obtain necessary supports.
Ideas at Work
4-H Youth Futures—College Within Reach
4-H Youth Futures-College Within Reach is an innovative program that promotes college as an obtainable goal for high school-age youths who are not typically encouraged to attend college such as "first in family" and racial/ethnic minority students. The program is a collaborative effort of state, regional, and county Extension faculty and staff from the state's 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities. Drawing from research on best practices, Youth Futures includes intensive mentoring, college orientation, and student progress follow-up. Program evaluations suggest that Youth Futures is effective in encouraging underserved students to enroll in and persist in college
Teens Shine a Light on Young Heroes: A Speak Out Military Kids Video Project
A group of military and non-military teens led by New Jersey 4-H mobilized the statewide Speak Out for Military Kids (SOMK) project. The goal is to raise community awareness of the issues facing youth of deployed military parents. This article describes the first step of the project—the design and production of Young Heroes, an 18-minute video featuring interviews with youth who have personal experience with deployment. The SOMK participants not only produced a video, but also mastered new skills while performing a community service. Though recently completed, Young Heroes is reaching diverse audiences.
Assessing Volunteers' Needs and Interests to Inform Curriculum Development in 4-H
4-H volunteers have the knowledge and experience to benefit the Youth Development Program by helping inform curriculum development. To capitalize on this, researchers at the University of California, Davis, used focus group interviews and a statewide survey to identify curriculum and programmatic needs in 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science from the perspectives of 4-H volunteers. Survey results and a review of subsequent curriculum development projects that were informed by the outcome data are discussed.
Lost Rivers Grazing Academy: Building Sustainability in Livestock Production
The Lost Rivers Grazing Academy (LRGA) was developed to improve the sustainability of livestock grazing operations. A mixture of classroom and hands-on instruction provides participants with training in Management-intensive Grazing, a goal-driven, flexible method of managing grazing for improved sustainability. Increased efficiency has also helped these producers to reduce winter feed costs, leading to greater economic stability. The LRGA uses a variety of teaching techniques to facilitate learning. These techniques include traditional classroom instruction, experiential learning, games, and simulations.
Assisting Wool Producers in Accessing an Emerging Global Market
A centralized marketing scheme was initiated to assist small sheep producers in adapting to an emerging global market. The goal of the effort was to create an educational environment that facilitated improved wool quality and preparation, which will ultimately lead to increased prices. The ultimate goal was to develop a product that could directly enter the global marketplace. Approximately 150,000 pounds of wool from 140 producers are marketed. Premiums obtained range between 10 and 50 cents per pound depending on quality and can be attributed to both improvements in marketing efficiency and improved quality of wool.
Tools of the Trade
Communication Techniques for Initiating Discussion About Complex Value-Laden Issues
As Extension professionals, we often engage clients who need help with complex, laden issues. This article lays out five simple communication techniques that can be used by Extension professionals when engaging clients. By deploying these techniques, Extension professionals can direct discussions, reduce fears and tensions, address underlying values, and help clients discover unanticipated opportunities. If these communication techniques are successfully deployed, Extension professionals can make their clients comfortable and confident when participating in Extension programs.
A Tool for Focusing Integrated Team Efforts on Complex Issues
Focusing the work of interdisciplinary teams to address prioritized issues is not an easy task. This new tool is designed to aid Extension educators in working with their integrated teams to dissect a complex issue by identifying the: 1) primary and secondary target audiences, 2) causal and contributing factors (i.e., root causes), 3) opportunities and threats to addressing and/or improving the issue, 4) program components to build in, and 5) resources to implement/carry out the different program components.
Consumers Ask: Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?
Seventy million baby-boomers may face the need for long-term care (LTC). Therefore, educating them about long-term care insurance (LTCI) is necessary considering the high costs of LTC services and the aggressive marketing of LTCI by companies. It is important that consumers receive unbiased information regarding LTCI and how it fits into their personal financial situation. Seminars using the Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance? presentation and accompanying Comparing Long-Term Care Insurance worksheet have helped Idahoans: (1) become more knowledgeable about LTCI, (2) decide if LTCI is right for them, and (3) learn how to effectively shop for and compare LTCI.
Strengthening Agricultural Entrepreneurship: A Grant Writing Tool for Agricultural Producers
In this article, we present a set of grant writing guidelines we have used when working with agricultural producers in Louisiana. Specifically, we applied these guidelines to help producers understand the grant writing and application process for the United States Department of Agriculture's Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Working together, Extension professionals and USDA officials can help agricultural producers acquire new resources to explore the feasibility of new business opportunities in value-added and bioenergy aspects of production agriculture. As globalization of agricultural markets continues, agricultural producers will benefit from tapping into new resources to take advantage of entrepreneurship opportunities.
User Perceptions of the University of Florida's On-line System for Continuing Educational Opportunities for Certified and Licensed Pesticide Applicators
The University of Florida offers CEUs through an approved online system to meet recertification standards for applicators of pesticides to renew their licenses. The system allows Florida applicators to achieve recertification with minimal time away from work. Data extracted from a portion of the audience completing our second-year surveys show that applicators perceive our online system as an effective and comfortable method to learn. The applicators in our survey are also likely to use Web-based learning tools in the future
Development of Interactive Multimedia Training Materials to Train Beef Packing Plant Workers in the Identification and Removal of Specified Risk Materials
The meat packing industry plays an essential role in preventing potential BSE-transmitting tissues from being included in the human food supply. As part of a project funded through USDA:CSREES, researchers at Colorado State University collaborated with the beef packing industry to create teaching materials to assist beef packers as they train workers in identification, proper removal and handling of SRM tissues. Materials include computerized interactive multimedia training modules, plastinated specimens, and a full color visual reference guide. Materials were designed to accommodate the diverse educational backgrounds of slaughter plant workers, who may have limited formal education and English language skills.
Using Computer Technology to Map Local Farms for Rapid Response in Agricultural Emergencies
An emergency or disaster can strike at any time without warning. This article describes how educators can use computer technology to map local farms for rapid response in agricultural emergencies. Critical farm data such phone contacts, global position systems location, and resources available for disaster recovery initiatives can quickly be imported into a computer mapping program. Then, at a click of a button, the information provided from a farm is opened in a message box. This allows for quick communication to farms during an emergency. This article also describes how this technology can be used for other Extension applications.